Welcome!

Security Authors: Michael Gold, Lori MacVittie, Rick Delgado, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Security, GovIT

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

The Cloud and Cybersecurity

The cloud-first policy and the incremental approach to cloud adoption will make IT reform real

As part of federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25-point plan to reform federal IT management announced last December, federal agencies must adopt a “cloud-first” policy that requires them to move three applications to the “cloud” over the next 12 to 18 months. Agencies must identify the three “must move” services within three months, move one of those services to the cloud within 12 months and the remaining two within 10 months.

This cloud-first policy and the incremental approach to cloud adoption will make IT reform real and should result in huge (30-50%) savings in federal IT budgets. One specific and measurable goal laid out in the plan calls for a reduction in government data centers from the current 2,094 number to fewer than 800 by 2015. Already 50 percent of government agencies are moving to private clouds but to realize the full potential of the cloud, the government needs to move from many small clouds to fewer large, shared clouds. Of course, federal acquisition policies and authorities must be modified before agencies can fully embrace this strategy. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) begins to address this issue.

FedRAMP allows joint authorizations and continuous security monitoring services for Government and Commercial cloud computing systems intended for multi-agency use. Joint authorization of cloud providers results in a common security risk model that can be leveraged across the Federal Government. The use of this common security risk model provides a consistent baseline for Cloud based technologies. This common baseline ensures that the benefits of cloud-based technologies are effectively integrated across the various cloud computing solutions currently proposed within the government. The risk model will also enable the government to “approve once, and use often” by ensuring multiple agencies gain the benefit and insight of the FedRAMP’s Authorization and access to service provider’s authorization packages.

There are still a lot of challenges that federal agencies need to work out with the cloud–data sovereignty, privacy and security, funding models, etc–but it is clear that the cloud model will allow government to operate more efficiently and effectively. Nonetheless, there persists the nagging perception that the cloud is inherently unsafe. Government agencies are uncomfortable handing over control of their data to other agencies, vendors or third parties. They are right to be concerned; reported cyber attacks against federal systems increased by 39 percent during the last fiscal year when compared to the year before, says an annual report on agency implementation of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). The report–posted online last month by the Office of Management and Budget (FY2010 FISMA Report)–finds that Federal agencies reported 41,776 cyber incidents during fiscal 2010. In 2009, agencies reported close to 30,000 incidents.

Despite the grim outlook, we believe the security of the federal enterprise, as well as its functionality, can be significantly enhanced by smartly implementing cloud computing. The following are some key principles that can facilitate this:

  • The importance of mission-focused engineering. Private clouds inside the federal enterprise can enhance mission support, but mission-focused engineering should be a first step in this pursuit.
  • The continual need for security, including data confidentiality, integrity and availability. All federal computing approaches must be engineered to be in total consonance with IA guidelines to assure federal information, information systems and information infrastructure. Cloud Computing, when engineered right, makes dramatic, positive changes to the mission assurance posture of the federal enterprise. Cloud computing enables stronger end point security and better data protection. It also enables the use of thin clients and the many security benefits they provide. Identity management and encryption remain of critical importance.
  • The need for always instantaneously available backup of data in the cloud. Ensured availability under all circumstances is a key benefit of smart cloud computing approaches.
  • The continual need for open source and open standards. Most cloud infrastructure today is based on open source (Linux, Solaris, MySQL, Glassfish, Hadoop) and this positive trend will help in net centric approaches. According to the IDC Group, open source software (OSS) is “the most significant, all-encompassing and long-term trend that the software industry has seen since the early 1980′s” Gartner projects that by 2012, 90 percent of the world’s companies will be using open source software. This all indicates open source and open standards should be a key principle for federal cloud computing and other net centric approaches.
  • The continual need to evaluate both low barrier to entry and low barrier to exit. As approaches to cloud computing are evaluated, too frequently the cost of exiting an approach is not considered, resulting in lock-in into a capability that may soon be inefficient. Cloud computing capabilities should be adopted that do not result in lock-in.
  • The need for open standards. Cloud computing contributions to enhanced functionality for the federal workforce and increase interoperability as the code, API’s and interfaces for cloud computing are secure but are widely published for all participants to interface with. Federal involvement in open source and open standards communities should continue and be accelerated, since increasingly cloud computing open standards are being discussed and designed by open standards bodies like W3C, OASIS, IETF and the Liberty Alliance. Document and other formats used by federal cloud computing activities will be open and available for all authorized users on all devices.
  • The need to understand the cost of “private clouds”. For at least the near term, the federal government will remain a provider of “private cloud” capabilities where security dictates ownership levels of control over compute power. This fact means the federal enterprise must continually engineer for change and technology insertion, which underscores the need for low barriers to exist in design criteria.

Regarding security, cloud computing holds the potential to dramatically change the continuous loosing game of continual workstation patching and IT device remediation by reducing the amount of applications on desktops and changing the nature of the desktop device from fat client to thin client. Devices can now have their entire memory and operating system flashed out to the device from private clouds and can have the power of the cloud presented to users as if the user is on an old fashioned desktop. This can be done in a way that never requires IT departments to visit the workstation to patch and configure it. And since all data is stored on private clouds it can be encrypted and access only provided to authorized users. No data can ever be lost when laptops are stolen and no data can ever be lost when desktops are attacked by unauthorized users. Security by well engineered use or cloud computing and thin clients or cloud computing and smart fat clients is dramatically enhanced.

This all leads to a key conclusion for the federal enterprise: as we move forward in cloud computing for support to the mission, the federal enterprise should continue to strengthen formal processes to ensure that lessons learned from both industry and the government’s own successful cloud computing initiatives are continually examined and broadly adopted across the enterprise

Crucial Point associates Dillon Behr, Alex Olesker, Bob Gourley and Chris Barnes contributed to this post.

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world. The next @ThingsExpo will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California. Since its launch in 2008, Cloud Expo TV commercials have been aired and CNBC, Fox News Network, and Bloomberg TV. Please enjoy our 2014 commercial.